Bangkok is a city like no other that never leaves one without memories. It can be described as a bit of a contrast of itself — luxurious hotels contrasted by gritty, but delicious food stalls; thousands of temples throughout the city mixed in with the infamous Red Light District. Whether you enjoy trying new food, learning about religion, sightseeing, a night out on the town, rustic adventures, or relaxing in a luxury hotel and spa, Bangkok has something for you! It’s a city you either love or hate, but no matter which way you sway, the city’s vibrant energy cannot be replaced. Here’s our guide to the colorful city of Bangkok whether it’s your first time or 50th time around.
Designer Loft Bangkok Silam
If you’d prefer a more local stay, check out this designer loft steps away from Bangkok’s Chinatown and the Chaophraya river. Not like your typical Bangkok high-rise building, this Airbnb is an open-plan, all-concrete apartment adorned with quirky decor like an elf flipping the bird. The building is on a local, car-free street and you can find yourself in a game of dominoes with neighbors, watching kids play badminton, or join in on karaoke.
For those that will not forgo any amenities, do not miss The Siam. Not only are the riverside rooms beautiful, but this hotel does not disappoint on activities. There’s a screening room, a spa, and even Muay Thai boxing lessons.
For the shopaholics, Hotel Muse is situated right in the middle of Bangkok’s famous shopping malls. After a long day of shopping, take a dip in their rooftop pool and enjoy a drink on their very own rooftop speakeasy bar named, well… The Speakeasy.
Adelphi Forty-Nine is a great budget option in one of my favorite areas of Bangkok – Sukhumvit. Sukhumvit has lots of great shops, street food, cool bars and swanky restaurants while not feeling too touristy. It’s a great starting point for exploration around most of Bangkok. The rooms at Adelphi Forty-Nine are cozy, modern and the hotels boasts a rooftop pool.
Thip Samai serves only one dish – pad thai. Pad thai can be quite a plain dish if not done right. This is not the case at Thip Samai, which is evidenced by the line of locals and tourists outside the humble restaurant every day before they open. Arrive 30 minutes prior, so you’re close to the front of the line. Don’t worry if you don’t make it before then! They move so fast, the wait shouldn’t be too long even if the line is down the block. While you wait, watch your food being made in the open kitchen, with a group of cooks flailing noodles around, fire blasting, vegetables being chopped at light speed, and somehow still being plated neatly. Your pad thai will come wrapped in an egg crepe that will unveil your delicious noodle and veggie mixture when opened. Complete with fresh noodles that have a slight creamy taste. Don’t hesitate on ordering Thip Samai’s popular orange juice. It’s incredibly tropical and full of chunky pulp, if that’s your thing.
Soi Polo Fried Chicken
As someone who is really picky when it comes to chicken, and rarely eats it, I ate a whole plate of chicken at Soi Polo Fried Chicken. That’s how good it is. The chicken is Isaan style BBQ fried and topped with crispy brown garlic. Order the shredded sweet crispy pork and pair that with a handful of sticky rice for a mind-boggling sweet and savory combo. Also get a side of papaya salad to at least get some vegetables in.
Klong Lad Ma Yom Floating Market
Mention Klong Lad Ma Yong to your hotel or private guide and they’ll ask how you heard about it with a look of disbelief. This floating market is void of hoards of tourists, hagglers, and souvenirs. Instead, it’s a food-lovers dream. Walk around and take a taste of everything at every stall, then grab a riverside seat, and indulge in your platter. Follow it up with a long-tail boat ride down the river with stops at a temple and orchid garden. Upon your return, have some fresh coconut ice cream served in a coconut topped with pistachios and coconut shreds.
Issaya Siamese Club
This hidden gem of a restaurant is a house situated in a garden, a very unassuming spot in a bustling city like Bangkok. The modern plating is like food art and the taste is just as good as it looks. Everything is fresh, and the herbs and vegetables grow in the restaurant’s own garden. If it’s not too hot out, grab a seat in the garden on the bean bag chairs and order up the kradook moo aob (chili glazed ribs), steamed whole lobster with lobster curry custard, fresh coconut milk and sweet basil, and the housemade shellfish sausage in Hua Hin style broth. End with the Jasmine Flower Flan. Though Issaya Siamese Club will rack up a bill compared to most restaurants in Bangkok, it’s well worth it! Plus you’ll be saving on your food everywhere else.
Supanniga Eating Room
This is the place to enjoy an authentic “home-cooked” Thai meal reminiscent of traditional family recipes in a contemporary setting. The space is the perfect chill spot adorned with plush yellow chairs for lounging away your food coma. To go with grandma’s recipes, they even plate the food on grandma’s ceramic dishes. Get the Isan Steak – Pork (grilled premium pork Isan style with sticky rice), Choo Chi Goong (jumbo prawns sautéed with Thai sweet and spicy curry), the crab fried rice with chili oil, and the Moo Cha Muang (pork stew). Wash down your food with one of their signature cocktails to keep you cool before stepping back outside in the heat.
This cute little boutique features tribal-inspired clothing and accessories, that you can actually wear outside of your vacation. Post-shopping visit their little nook in the store and take a seat in one of the colorful straw chairs for a smoothie, tea, or a glass of champagne to celebrate your new purchases.
You may be familiar with Statement from Instagram. Shop their one-stop shop IRL for anything from active wear to dresses for a dinner date, trusty phone case, and sunglasses. Did we mention they also serve snacks and cocktails?
Onion features contemporary designer products like denim, leather goods, eye wear, and more. The store also houses a coffee shop and trendy cafe.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
This market has loads of things, but the home goods is where it’s at. Think antique silverware, gorgeous glassware, accent pieces and furniture. If you want to take home larger items, you can order a barrel and ship everything home.
Liberty Area One
For unique clothing, shoes and accessories from emerging designers and fashion students, Liberty Area One should be your go-to. Most of the featured brands are home-grown in Bangkok. The store also features international labels such as UK shoe brand F-Troupe and Korean women’s label Fleamadonna.
Forgot your swimsuit? You’ll need one to sit by your hotel’s rooftop pool. Stop by Virgin Daisies for a pinup-inspired swimsuit that can double as a bodysuit for hot days. Just be sure to bring a cover-up for temple visits.
There are more than 40,000 temples in Thailand. It’s safe to say you’ll run into a temple no matter where you turn. All the temples are beautiful, but the show-stoppers are Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Arun, and Wat Mahatat.
Get a Thai Massage
After the long flight it took you to get to Bangkok, you’ll be feeling some aches and pains. In Thailand, you can get the best massage of your life for as little as $1 for an hour. For a traditional Thai massage in a spa setting, head to Health Land where you can get a 2-hour luxury massage for $15! You’ll leave feeling like a new person.
Watch A Fight
Catch a Muay Thai fight at Rajadamnern Stadium, the oldest Thai boxing stadium in Bangkok. The ringside seats are filled with tourists, locals in the middle section betting on the winner, and those of us who aren’t really too keen on seeing fights up close (or those who want to save a little cash to eat even more street food) sit on concrete steps behind a fence Fight Club style. The live band plays snake charming music that gets faster as the fight gets more intense, and it does get intense.
Bangkok’s Chinatown is rather impressive. It’s worth a stroll down its busy streets and some stops at food stalls for more tasting.
What are your favorite must-do’s in Bangkok?
Written by Danika Daly
Feature via Thailand Package Travel